"Happy birthday Aedwinn." He said with a smile, nudging Aedwinn awake with a gloved hand.

The unsuspecting youth turned in his bed, his eyes heavy as he peeled them open to look up at the man that sat beside him. He made a lazy grin and licked his lips to speak. "Ah, don't say a word, I've got something to show you first, you can save your words for when you see it."

Aedwinn smiled, more awake now. It was just like Samedius to do such things, making every day gestures into rituals and games. He opened his mouth to speak again, but Samedius put his hand playfully to Aedwinn's mouth. "I'm serious!" He laughed. "Get out from under those covers and put on some clothes, meet me in the courtyard, and if you talk I'll find out... So no cheating!"

With that, the dark-skinned mage blinked out of the room in sparks of ethereal light. Aedwinn sat up, luxuriating in the feel of the soft satin quilt as it slid down his bare chest. He opened up his mouth to yawn and spread his arms to stretch. Waking up from a good night's sleep was always so good. Even back home, nine hours of sleep was a delicious treat. With a puff of air he fell back to his pillow, and the mattress took his weight with giving ease. He could go back to sleep... But alas! He slid down out of the bed onto the floor, coming to his knees against the warm wood, and slowly stood up. Across the room was his armoire, filled with all manner of clothing. He walked over to it and swung open its doors, revealing a colorful array of shirts, trousers, robes, and kilts, all tailored to fit him perfectly.

It's my birthday, I'll wear something simple. He thought as he filed through his wardrobe, finally resting his eyes on a plain white robe made of silk. He pulled it from its place and examined it proudly. This was a piece of clothing he'd gotten as a gift from a visiting mage, during one of Samedius' dinner parties. It was light and airy, and felt good against his skin. He stepped into it, and started toward the courtyard.

Parting the arched doors to the courtyard, and stepping outside, Aedwinn immediately felt a cool breeze play across his face. He took in a deep breath and walked past the sculptures and trees, down the clean pale path of stone, deeper into the courtyard of Eislandir Manor. Were it not for Samedius' wealthy family line, none of this beauty would exist. Aedwinn firmly believed himself to be truly blessed to partake in it all. It would be such a shame to watch it fade away.

He could see Samedius in the distance, sitting at the edge of the central fountain. As he neared, Samedius looked up and smiled. He invited Aedwinn to sit next to him, setting his staff aside and placing his hand on a silk-wrapped box. "As you know," he said, "Presentation is everything... So for your birthday gift to have the best effect, I had to get you out into the best part of the house."

Aedwinn laughed, "The best part of the house is outside? Why, I should move my bed out here for the spiders and ants to share!" He poked Samedius in the side, causing the man to smile broadly. As he scratched his bald head, he looked at Aedwinn.

"Well it's the best part for giving birthday presents," he presented the gift, setting it in his lap, "Here, this is something you deserve for all the devotion you've placed into your studies, and into my home." His grey eyes caught Aedwinn's, and they both smiled. "Thank you very much Sam."

Samedius handed him the box, and he began to unwrap the silk. Blossoms of arcane energy unfolded as the lid was lifted, and from its depths rose a serpentine energy that settled around Aedwinn's shoulders. At first it was undefinable, but as the energy grew solid and developed mass, it became clear that what rested on Aedwinn's shoulders was a large brown serpent.

"Sam!" Aedwinn was overjoyed as he looked into the serpent's chestnut brown eyes. Its tongue flickered, taking in its new master's scent. Aedwinn set the charmed snake on the ground and wrapped Samedius in a tight embrace, so tight his muscles trembled with strain. Samedius laughed and accepted Aedwinn's overzealous enthusiasm with a return embrace and a pat on the head. "As I said, you deserved it... So here is your familiar, treat him kindly."

They both stood, prepared to go inside. "I'll name him Samedi, after this guy I know." Aedwinn mused. His face was flush with color and his eyes twinkled. Samedius chuckled softly, his baritone voice occupied the air with a heavy, syrupy tone, "I'm glad you appreciate it so."

The snake coiled around Aedwinn's leg and traveled up until it was around his shoulders again. The apprentice mage shouted with delight and laughed as he felt its coils, giving it a gentle stroke as its head became level with his. "You've got some magic buried deep beneath those scales don't you?" The serpent tongued the air and began to explore the length of Aedwinn's arm. It was then that he noticed Samedius, looking over the wall at the sky with a countenance of apprehension.

"... Sam?" Aedwinn walked closer to him, "Hey, what's the matter? Samedius?" He did not move. His gaze was fixed toward the east. Aedwinn reached outward to touch him. Upon contact, a jolt of energy passed between them, and caused their muscules to spasm with arcane energy. Both were startled, and Samedius looked with disdain at Aedwinn for a moment. Steadily, the life came back into his eyes and he was aware. "What was that all about?" Aedwinn asked. Samedius grabbed his black velvet hat and placed it on his head, and stroked his white goatee in a moment of thought. Aedwinn leaned his head forward, his eyebrows knotted together as he searched for an explanation.

Samedius turned and smiled, "Nothing to worry about son. Let's go for a walk, show off your new pet to passers by. I'm sure they'll be thrilled." He grinned mischeviously.

Aedwinn nodded slowly, and decided it would be best not to worry over something if Samedius said it was nothing to worry for. He pulled dear Samedi out of the top of his robe, and smiled, making a quick glance towards the east. "I'll get my staff."

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